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A question about all those "average speed" posters(19 posts)

A question about all those "average speed" postersFez
Aug 13, 2002 7:12 AM
I know average speed is a pretty worthless statistic, but I see so many people cite this on their posts, I was wondering where they are getting it from?

A) The cycle computer?
B) The speed they see themselves riding most often in the flats?
C) the number of miles ridden divided by hours on the bike? or is it adjusted for stops at intersections, traffic, and the unexpected?
D) a number they just pulled out of their arse?

Just wondering because I just read the 19 mph average speed poster who wanted to improve to 22mph and I got to thinking that average speed can mean a whole lot of different things, if anything at all.
Average speed is a nice little number butonespeed
Aug 13, 2002 7:18 AM
Ultimately I discount it entirely. I go by time that my watch says it is when I begin a ride to the time my watch says when I end a ride. Then I check miles on my computer.
Good question. I think all of the above. Not onlybill
Aug 13, 2002 7:23 AM
are there all these different measures, but terrain matters. Time spent at lights, etc., matters (I'm not sure if this is true on every computer, but it's true on mine).
It's why I didn't post. Rather meaningless, quite apart from the "how big is yours" aspect.
I can't say that I never have participated; back in the days, I had the same question as you, and I wanted to see where I stood among my fellow geek posters. Now, I spend more time in the company of other riders, and I see where I stand. Just as in job, music, life, etc.:
faster than some, not as fast as whole bunch of others.
re: A question about all those "average speed" postersdirthead
Aug 13, 2002 7:25 AM
I agree that average speed is a pretty worthless number, when compared to different people riding different routes. When I compare my average speed for a ride on one day to my average speed for that ride on another day, I always use the "average speed" function of my cycle computer.

Average speed compared from different posters is worthless. There are so many factors that contribute to that number, unless you compare the average speed of one rider on a specific route to another rider on that same route, the number is meaningless in my opinion.

I did reply to a posting a few weeks ago asking about average speeds. I stated mine as 17 - 19 mph for a 30 - 40 mile ride. If I ride a route with more hills, that could go to 15 in a hurry, but if the route is flat and there is no wind, it could go up. See how this number is basically worthless to anyone but the person doing the riding comparing one days ride to another????
Figure, for example, Lance's average speed versus ...Humma Hah
Aug 13, 2002 2:20 PM
... everyone else in the TDF. The next fastest rider was about 7 minutes behind after THREE WEEKS of racing! Obviously their average time was so close to identical as to make the difference nearly vanish. Yet Armstrong is credited with a massive victory.

So absolutely, the only valid comparison is time difference compared to other riders. Say for example, put me up against Armstrong and I'd not complete the TDF course within 7 DAYS of his time!
Depends on your personality...cabinfever
Aug 13, 2002 7:30 AM
Some guys simply can't help feeling as though every ride is a competition. For competitive types, that is natural and understandable. Then, I think there are those out there who love biking and love the experience of each ride, and don't care as much about the performance aspect. Personally, I push myself to different levels depending on how I feel that day, and focus more on miles ridden each week. Either way, if you are going to look at average speed, and you don't have a computer that shuts the time off when the wheel stops, or you yourself don't adjust for pit stops, etc, you are wasting your time by using average speed as a measurement of performance.
re: A question about all those "average speed" posterstarwheel
Aug 13, 2002 7:34 AM
I keep track of my average speeds to gauge my own progress, not to compare with others. My computer is set up so the timer shuts off when your wheels stop turning, so the average speed is based on actual ride time, not including time at red lights, rest stops, etc.

I have found that average speed can be useful when comparing my progress riding solo over the same routes. However, averages can be greatly influenced by temperatures, winds, terrain and other factors. Generally my speeds average about 2-3 mph faster on group rides with a paceline. Riding solo, my averages are fairly consistent, but can drop 1-2 mph on very hilly terrain or on windy days. Since I don't have a heart rate monitor, I also use average speed to gauge the intensity of my workout over known routes. On hard workout days, I generally average 1-2 mph faster than usual. On recovery days, 1-2 mph slower.
Sounds very sensible to me...cabinfever
Aug 13, 2002 7:47 AM
I too will use average speed in the same manner. I don't let it bother me though when I know from the very beginning that I will be 1 mph slower than my better times on a given route. Some days, you just don't have it in you. Other days, you feel like you could pull a train, especially after 10 or 15 miles.
bike computerColnagoFE
Aug 13, 2002 7:43 AM
I think this is a useful statistic if you compare speeds over the same course often. A 20mph average is pretty tough to maintain if there are any hills at all on your route.
same here and it's a bit valuablelaffeaux
Aug 13, 2002 11:45 AM
I ride the same route pretty often and I use the cyclometer to tell me if I did it faster today than I did yesterday. It's not 100% accurate as it does an account for head/tail winds, nor does it account for stop and go traffic - even though the clock stops when I'm at a red light, it's still faster to ride through green lights, than to accelerate from a stop at every red light.
My avs is around 15mphelviento
Aug 13, 2002 7:47 AM
But I'd like to think 19mph is my cruising speed. Every time I do a longer out of town ride, the average goes up.
how many of you do this?DaveG
Aug 13, 2002 8:03 AM
When I'm having a good average speed ride going, I often find myself flying up to stops and lights and then braking hard to avoid losing seconds slowing for the light. Its surprising how much this effects your average on computers that use auto start/stop.

I often use average speed (from computer) to compare my progress over same route throughout the season..
Its a great tool for "Individual" comparison.K-Man
Aug 13, 2002 9:21 AM
I use time first and the average function second.
I have several different routes I ride and know generally how fast I should be on each. Using the average function for personal training is a great tool and can really get you motivated when you have a better than average day. Always trying to beat a personal best for each route.

no more track standslaffeaux
Aug 13, 2002 11:48 AM
Yep, I find myself doing that as well. I also don't do track stands at intersections as I'm afraig the pickup and magnet may be clode enough to register me still riding. I have to keep that average as high as I can. Note I only do this on my commute where I consistently watch my average speed.
re: A question about all those "average speed" postersempacher6seat
Aug 13, 2002 8:27 AM
I agree that it's a pretty useless number to know.

When someone asks me about my average speed, I tell them what I usually hold on flats, then what I usually hold on hills. I get those numbers by looking down at my computer every once in a while!
re: A question about all those "average speed" postersJonas Gustafsson
Aug 13, 2002 9:11 AM
Since I'm that '19 mph average poster', I can answer that question with alternative A, and it's based on effective ride time, although I never stop on training rides. I agree that avg speed is by itself not a very good measurement betweeen riders.

However, I like numbers and measures, and avg.speed is what I use to compare two otherwise identical rides.
when TT'ing..dotkaye
Aug 13, 2002 9:13 AM
only time I check average speed is when time trialing, or in triathlons (same thing really). For those rides I'm confident the cycle computer gives an accurate measure. Other than that, it's not useful - riding solo vs paceline, hills vs flats, wind vs calm, stopping for lights/stop signs vs blowing through, don't know how to control for all those and more.
your right, its a worthless measurement for comparison to othersK-Man
Aug 13, 2002 9:17 AM
Unless they are riding the same area as you.
My friends across the state line from me in Delaware (10-15 miles) can easily ride 5-8 mph faster than in my area just due to the nature of the terrain (HILLS!)
I think people use it as a type of bragging rights to make them think they are fast. By the way did I mention that I can ride 19mph average over a 2 hour ride, solo! ;)

Computers usefulness is limited to relative comparision...Djudd
Aug 13, 2002 11:43 AM
from ride to ride. I question any cyclecomputers actual effectiveness as empirical data.Having said that I keep careful geek-ridden track of that unreliable data. It's fun!!!